March 29, 2019 NCAA Men's Hockey West Regional semi-final game between the American International College Yellow Jackets and the St. Cloud State Huskies at Scheels Arena, Fargo, ND. Photo by Russell Hons
Fargo, ND – It would only be fitting that on the 13-year anniversary of Holy Cross’s shocking defeat of the Minnesota Gophers another upstart team would rock the college hockey world. This time, it’s not as catastrophic. We’ve seen this act before. This time it was the American International College defeating St. Cloud State 2-1 in the West Regional Championship.
For the 14th year in a row, a number four seed has beaten a number one seed. Breaking it down further, for the third time in five years the number 16 seed has beaten the number one overall seed. Overlook the 16 seed at your own peril. When you play the AHA team in the NCAA playoffs it’s going to be a 50/50 game. The AHA autobid has won seven of their last 14 first-round games.
After going 0-3 in their last three NCAA regional games, it’s not as shocking that the number one ranked Huskies would lose to the AHA auto qualifier. It’s something their program is going to have to address. During the last four seasons, the Huskies have gone 102-43-11 (.689). During that time, they’ve also won two National Collegiate Hockey Conference Penrose Cups. So, if you’re one of those fans snickering about SCSU losing again in the first round, remember there are about 44 other teams that would love to be in their situation.
I’ve been lucky enough to watch two of the biggest upsets in college hockey. I was there when Holy Cross shocked the college hockey world. You guys remember the Holy Cross student radio station with the historic call, “It’s the second chance. It’s the second effort and it goes in.”
American International in their first appearance in the NCAA tourney knocks off the number one seed. Yellow Jackets, head coach Eric Lang talked about the process.
“I’m just excited for our group,” Lang said. “We had a script, this game had to go a certain way. Sometimes that’s a tough pill swallow but credit to our guys who didn’t back down. I thought we had some good chances to win the first period and we did what we had to do to advance. It’s an exciting day for our program but I’m extremely delighted for these guys. I get to spend another day with them.”
Another loss in the NCAA tourney has the Huskies asking the question, what happened?
“I know their hearts are ripped out right now and I feel for them, but they certainly left it all out there at the end and certainly don’t have anything to hang their heads about,” Huskies head coach Brett Larson.
The Huskies head coach is right, his team has nothing to hang their heads about. His team sat at the top of the Pairwise and USCHO rankings all season long. They won an impressive thirty games. They won their second consecutive Penrose Cup. That’s no easy feat.